Background of the project


The main goal of the Human Cause-of-Death Database (HCD) is to provide access to detailed high-quality data on cause-specific mortality to a broad audience of users. In contrast to other existing databases on causes of death, the HCD provides time series with constant classification of causes. Our goal is to include the reconstructed data series based on the 10th revision of ICD. Not all countries use ICD-10 at the most detailed (4 digit) level. For comparability purposes, we provide mortality data classified according to intermediate and short lists of causes of death which are the same for all countries. In addition, data classified according to a more or less "detailed list", is also provided, according to available data in each country. Description of available data can be found in the Explanatory notes, for description of data formats see the Formats.

At present, we have several countries with short data series started at the moment when ICD-10 was introduced in the country and restricted only to short and intermediate lists of causes. We are working on data reconstruction for these countries, and in near future these data will be replaced by longer and reconstructed time series with constant classification of causes.

The following features make the HCD particularly attractive to its users:

  • Continuous data series with constant cause-of-death classification;
  • Availability of basic summary (aggregated by age) indicators;
  • Detailed documentation;
  • Free and easy access to all data;
  • The uniform and easy to use format of HCD data files.

We hope that HCD will facilitate comparative analysis of cause-specific mortality data across countries and regions.

Database Principles

As with the Human Mortality Database (HMD), we are following as much as possible four guiding principles: comparability, flexibility, accessibility, and reproducibility.

We provide complete documentation of the data available through this site. Documentation that is specific to an individual population (including data sources) is provided through links within each country section, documentation which is relevant to the whole project is available via links on the main page.

You are welcome to download and analyze any data provided here free of charge. However, by accessing and using the database you agree to be bound by the terms of the User Agreement


We are still actively developing this Database. Although we have been very careful in assembling and manipulating the data presented here, it is possible that some errors remain, and we appreciate your help in identifying any inaccuracies. If you have any comments or questions, or issues accessing the database, please write to

Data adjustments

Deaths of unknown age are redistributed proportionally into known ages for each cause of death. In addition to re-classification of causes of death classified according to old ICD revisions (see Background for details), we redistribute ill-defined causes of death and adjust infant mortality (if needed). A detailed description of data adjustments for every country is provided in the country-specific documentation.

Computing death rates and aggregated indicators

For every country in the HCD, original death counts are a result of individual research work and provided as output for the database by individual researchers (country specialists).

For calculation of age-specific death rates, crude death rates, and (age) standardized death rates population exposures are taken from the HMD. For countries that are not included in the HMD, we use the standard HMD methodology to produce our own population exposures.